Human technology

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Illustrasjon: Anniken Soland

Technology has been evolving alongside the needs of the human being. Objects have been invented with the purpose to improve our daily lives but also fulfil more precise functions, industrial or military usage for example. Technological inventions took a major leap since the industrial revolution in western countries. 

 A Better Life

We understand the concept of technology as any item or knowledge that requires applied science to design, process and manufacture goods or services. In a general manner, we can attest to the improvement of our quality of life by the modern urbanisation of transport, health care, automated domestic items and communication technologies. Machinery automatisation has also improved drastically production time for manufacturing companies, replacing manual labour by machines.

We have primarily developed items for the betterment of our lives, however it is not longer the sole reason for item acquirement.

The introduction of the first car or the first television granted items a social status among the community. In the 1950’s, having a television post at home was a sign of wealth and would grant a higher social status to the household.

Technological Domestication

Roger Silverstone categorised the process of domestication into four phases: appropriation, objectification, incorporation and conversion. The phase of appropriation starts when an individual acquires a technical object and becomes owner of said object.

The objectification phase reflects on the norms and the sense of possession the object provides and how the owners envision their place in the world.  The incorporation phase encompasses the ways technological objects are being used and incorporated into everyday life’s routines.

The conversion phase indicates the processes into which technological objects are forming the relationships between its users and the people who reside outside the household, who have limited or no access to the technological object. During this phase, the artefacts are being seen as tools, they become a symbol of status and reflect upon the household’s network to the outside world. It contributes to promulgate a specific life style to neighbours, family, colleagues and friends.

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Illustrasjon: Anniken Soland

Gotta Catch ‘Em All 

Pokémon GO is a perfect example of an applied use of technology for the purpose of entertainment. The Pokémon game created by Nintendo is celebrating its 20th birthday and at the occasion has released a mobile version of their game with a twist. Pokemon GO is the full trendy game to download on mobile and tablet, it was released early July in most countries and has already surpassed 100 millions downloads on the App Store and Google Play.

The total revenue has exceeded 160 millions of dollars so far. The official statistics state that the users are aged between 18 and 34 years old, with a ratio of 40% of female gamers versus 60% male gamers (The statistics are provided by Nintendo reports and other news related articles). Pokémon Go presents the advantage of blending physical activity and entertainment. Many users have reported being more active than they used to be, even sparking random conversations with strangers also looking for pokémons.

What About “The Matrix”?

In 1999, the movie The Matrix was released and put a question to wonder: are our lives real? How much control do we actually exert on our lives? In this science fiction movie, the protagonist discovers that everything he thought to be true had just been an illusion and is in fact living in a post apocalyptic world where machines became scient and started fighting mankind for control of the planet. Not everybody is enthusiastic about the usage and development of technological tools and devices, some are even preaching for extreme caution, especially in the study and research of artificial intelligence. Is mankind doomed to fail due to the negative downside of technology on society?

People complain that technology, especially in the shape of digital mobile technologies, such as smartphones and tablets, are causing individuals to isolate themselves, giving priority to their screen instead of conversing with other individuals. Some parents would deliberately choose to
leave their children in front of the television or a tablet so they can have “peace” and spend their time on their own digital entertainment.

In conclusion

Vincent Miller writes: “It is important to realise that the internet, the web, and mobile digital technologies are more than just “technologies,” they are a set of social relations which incorporate the use of technologies with various results”.

Furthermore, we have to consider that any significant new technology will be seen as a mean to shape society, specifically when technology generate social shifts based on the impact they have on individuals and organisations. It is on that principle of technological determinism that the development of ICT knowledge and applications has been shaping our social interactions in the last 30 years.